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Poll: Hypothetical anthrax attack and antibiotics
Date:2/19/2010

who said they were unlikely or only "somewhat likely" to go get antibiotic pills at these dispensing sites (for themselves or for their children); this included roughly a third (34%) of people. This group most often cited worries about officials being unable to control crowds (45%) as a "major reason" for their decision. Other major reasons were that they would: worry about being exposed to anthrax while going to a dispensing site (41%); worry that there would not be enough antibiotics (40%); worry about the safety of the antibiotics (38%). Some also said that they would wait to get antibiotics until they were sure they truly had been exposed to anthrax (37%).

While a majority of the public said they were confident in the government's ability to deliver antibiotics quickly to everyone in their city or town, it is notable that a sizeable minority did not agree. Nearly two-thirds (63%) were confident that there would be a sufficient supply of the antibiotics for everyone in their city or town who wanted them, but a third (36%) were not confident.

The poll also included people living in areas that actually experienced anthrax attacks in 2001 (Washington DC, Trenton/Mercer County, NJ and New York City). The poll found that people from these areas had similar responses to the nation as a whole, but there are notable differences in responses to two questions. Adults from the DC metro and Trenton/Mercer County regions were less likely than those in New York City or nationally to be "not at all familiar" with the term "inhalation anthrax" (13% and 15% vs. 22% and 21% respectively). In addition, upon hearing the scenario concerning possible anthrax attacks in their city or town, people in the DC metro, Trenton/Mercer County and New York City metro regions were all more likely than people nationally to expect the event to be an isolated incident (40%, 42%, 37% vs. 27%) rather than part of a series of attacks.

Methodology

This poll is
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Contact: Christina Roache
croache@hsph.harvard.edu
617-432-6052
Harvard School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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